Short takes: Tech at loss from sideline to huddle

North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams has a high time after beating Georgia Tech at its place. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Three quick hits, spinning off the updated Georgia Tech-North Carolina game column that can be found here:

  1. Coaching really matters. North Carolina was not perfect in its sideline administration (witness the choice of an unsuccessful onside kick early in the third quarter, even after the Tar Heels had scored the last 17 points). But their coaches had a markedly better day than those on the opposite sideline.

The reverse pass back to quarterback Marquise Williams – directly following a Tech turnover – was inspired in its execution and timing. The perfect play at the perfect juncture, catching Tech unaware and giving North Carolina its first lead.

And while the Tar Heels new defensive coordinator, former Auburn head guy Gene Chizik, was being overrun in the first half, it bears notice that his guys gave up only 51 rushing yards in the second half. His defenders played with much greater energy than did Tech’s at the end (see Williams running untouched for the game’s last touchdown).

  1. It is still startling when Justin Thomas is the second best quarterback on the field. But no denying that Williams, who devastated Tech last year with 463 yards of total offense, was the most dynamic performer this day.

Williams’ stat line was stuffed, from the 148 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to his touchdown reception on the razzle-dazzle play.

All the cool Thomas displayed when ascending to the quarterback throne last season has gone absent at crucial times this year. His fourth-quarter fumble was a punch to the heart Saturday.

For the first time this year, Tech lost the turnover battle, 2-0 (on his fumble and a Hail Mary interception at the close).

  1. Here it is only the first of October, and already it seems like Georgia Tech’s season now comes down to one game. I think you know what it is. It happens Nov. 28 when Georgia comes calling.

Of course, there is nothing mathematical that as yet eliminates the Yellow Jackets from the ACC championship game. Eyesight and common sense seem to indicate that is a fantasy.

How can this team, as it's currently performing, win at Clemson next week (barring the vagaries of injury)? How can it go on any run that would salvage a return trip to Charlotte?

Trying to beat Georgia for a second year seems like the best chance at consolation, and the end of November seems so far away.

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About the Author

Steve Hummer
Steve Hummer
Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.